‘Birdman’ Tops the List of Independent Spirit Awards Nominees

2015 Independent Spirit Awards Nominees
Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in ‘Birdman’ (Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight)

Birdman earned six nominations while Nightcrawler, Boyhood, and Selma each picked up five nominations as just announced by the Film Independent Spirit Awards – the Oscars of the independent film world. The 30th Independent Spirit Awards will be held on Saturday, February 21, 2015, one day prior to the Oscars. And unlike the Academy Awards ceremony, the Spirit Awards are a more casual affair, taking place in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

“As we celebrate 30 years of great independent film,” said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent, “this year’s nominees are an astonishingly strong group of films and filmmakers which demonstrate the uniqueness of vision we honor at this show.”

Although neither film was eligible to receive individual nominations based on the Spirit Awards rules, Inherent Vice and Foxcatcher were singled out to receive special awards, with Inherit Vice earning the Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast, casting director, and director. Foxcatcher was chosen to receive the Special Distinction Award for “its uniqueness of vision, honesty of direction and screenwriting, superb acting and achievement on every level of filmmaking.”



Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Love is Strange


Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Ava DuVernay – Selma

Alejandro G. Iñárritu – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Richard Linklater – Boyhood

David Zellner – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter


Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski – Big Eyes

J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year

Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Jim Jarmusch – Only Lovers Left Alive

Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias – Love is Strange

BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Producers: Justin Begnaud, Sina Sayyah

Dear White People
Director/Producer: Justin Simien
Producers: Effie T. Brown, Ann Le, Julia Lebedev, Angel Lopez, Lena Waithe

Director: Dan Gilroy
Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

Obvious Child
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Producer: Elisabeth Holm

She’s Lost Control
Director/Producer: Anja Marquardt
Producers: Mollye Asher, Kiara C. Jones


Desiree Akhavan – Appropriate Behavior

Sara Colangelo – Little Accidents

Justin Lader – The One I Love

Anja Marquardt – She’s Lost Control

Justin Simien – Dear White People

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.

Blue Ruin
Writer/Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Producers: Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani

It Felt Like Love
Writer/Director/Producer: Eliza Hittman
Producers: Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Land Ho!
Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens
Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

Man From Reno
Writer/Director: Dave Boyle
Writers: Joel Clark, Michael Lerman
Producer: Ko Mori

Writer/Director/Producer: Chris Mason Johnson
Producer: Chris Martin


Marion Cotillard – The Immigrant

Rinko Kikuchi – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Jenny Slate – Obvious Child

Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive


André Benjamin – Jimi: All Is By My Side

Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

John Lithgow – Love is Strange

David Oyelowo – Selma


Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year

Carmen Ejogo – Selma

Andrea Suarez Paz – Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)


Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Alfred Molina – Love is Strange

Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash


Darius Khondji – The Immigrant

Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Sean Porter – It Felt Like Love

Lyle Vincent – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Bradford Young – Selma


Sandra Adair – Boyhood

Tom Cross – Whiplash

John Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Ron Patane – A Most Violent Year

Adam Wingard – The Guest

BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)

20,000 Days on Earth
Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Producers: Dan Bowen, James Wilson

Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

Stray Dog
Director: Debra Granik
Producer: Anne Rosellini

The Salt of the Earth
Directors: Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and Wim Wenders
Producer: David Rosier

Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)

Force Majeure
Director: Ruben Östlund

Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Director: Xavier Dolan

Norte, the End of History
Director: Lav Diaz

Under the Skin
(United Kingdom)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Inherent Vice
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Casting Director: Cassandra Kulukundis
Ensemble Cast: Josh Brolin, Martin Donovan, Jena Malone, Joanna Newsom, Joaquin Phoenix, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short Serena Scott Thomas, Benicio Del Toro, Katherine Waterston, Michael Kenneth Williams, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon


Director/Producer: Bennett Miller
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Megan Ellison, Jon Kilik
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Actors: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum

18th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 18th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Chad Burris
Elisabeth Holm
Chris Ohlson

21st ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 21st annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour

Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

The Retrieval
Director: Chris Eska

20th ANNUAL LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 20th annual Truer Than Fiction Award, sponsored by LensCrafters is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by LensCrafters.

Approaching the Elephant
Director: Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal
Director: Darius Clark Monroe

The Kill Team
Director: Dan Krauss

The Last Season
Director: Sara Dosa

-By Rebecca Murray

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